7. AND MEN MUST FALL

A couple of weeks had passed since the incident with the new door opening in my entryway and the flying red triangle abducting me.

The first few days after it happened, I had just felt totally robbed of all energy.

I slept a lot, and only got up to eat very light meals.

I didn’t even feel like drinking coffee, which was very unusual.

I reassured my wife that I had probably caught a light flu or something similar, and that I just needed to rest a little.

I told her nothing about the incident.

She was content with my explanation, even if she found it a bit surprising that I should be sick so suddenly, as it didn’t happen very often that I had any health problems.

To make things seem more natural, and to buy myself some time, I called my doctor and had her write a medical certificate to send off to work.

Towards the end of the week, I started feeling better, but somehow I couldn’t get myself back into focusing on my usual routines.

I felt that I had to try and understand what had happened to me, however surreal it was.

My approach to life has always been quite rational, and I found the only way to attack this situation was to try and make sense of it.

At first, I had to decide whether the whole thing had been a hallucination , due to some unknown medical reason, or if what had happened was as real as anything else I was experiencing.

The latter seemed the most believable conclusion, as all my senses had been intact throughout the experience, and I could remember every little detail.

For some reason I was very preoccupied with the peculiar shape of the thing that had encapsulated me, and elevated me into the skies that day.

I felt that it was somehow essential.

So I sat down by my computer and started searching for more information on triangular shapes.

Even though I have a basic understanding of geometry, I discovered that there was a lot to learn.

I eventually learned that a triangular object where all sides and angles are equal, is called a Tetrahedron, and that this is the first of five fundamental shapes known as the Platonic Solids.

The Platonic Solids are the only five objects in three-dimensional space where all its sides and angles are equal.

I found it very interesting, especially as I hadn’t been aware of any of this before, in spite of it being fairly basic knowledge about the world we live in.

But even after I had read about the Platonic Solids for hours, there was no indication that any of them were supposed to talk to you, or abduct you from your entryway in the morning.

That part was still a grey area.

The weekend passed, I felt that I needed more time, and called my doctor again on Monday morning to ask for another week to rejuvenate.

This time she sounded a little more concerned, and asked me if I could come down to her office and do some tests, but after I reassured her that this was nothing more than a light flu, that I could already feel was loosening its grip, she agreed to write an extended medical report for work.

I hung up, put on some loose and comfy clothes, made myself a cup of weak coffee, and sat down by my desk in the small home office we had converted our oldest’s son’s room into when he moved out.

The day was spent reading more and gradually getting lost in a rabbit hole of suspicious websites linking geometrical shapes to frequency spectrums and levitating boulders. 

Some claimed that any form in the universe functions as an “antenna” for specific “energies”.

Needless to say, to someone with a thirty year career working with electronics, relating to the basic laws of electricity and electromagnetism every day, this sounded pretty out there, and probably was.

But it was still not as crazy as my own experience from the previous Monday would sound to anyone with a basic understanding of psychology.

I kept reading and followed any lead I could find, as weird as they came, until the entire day had passed and my wife came home from her day shift.

I could see her surprise at finding me in the clothes I was wearing.

I didn’t often wear comfy clothes, not even at home.

She showed some real concern when I told her I still hadn’t gone to work.

“But you always go to work. You’re an always going to work person!”, she said over dinner.

I thought about this, how I was defined only by my habits, and not by how I experienced the world.

It somehow felt unfair.

“Maybe I’m more than one person?”, I heard myself answer.

She stared at me.

“You realise that that’s a very strange thing to say?”.

She gave me a cold look, as if I had betrayed her in some way.

Maybe I had.

I avoided talking about the subject for the rest of the evening, and waited until she went upstair to bed.

After another couple of hours in front of the computer, I was too tired to take in any more information, and decided to go to bed.

The last thing I do before brushing my teeth, is turning off all the lights in the house.

This includes going down the stairs to the entryway on the ground floor, and check the switch for the outdoor lamp, and double-check if the door is locked.

It usually is.

As I switched off the light and turned around to go back up, I stopped mid-movement.

A dim, greenish glow drew up an outline of the new door on the wall.

It gradually got more and more intense, until the door was penetrated by beams of light and eventually dissolved.

In the doorway, a rotating, green cube appeared.

“This is not who you are.”, it said, and then I was lifted me across the room and sucked  into its interior, just as the Tetrahedron had done the previous Monday.

Confined inside the square, I could see that it had the same gradient quality as the Tetrahedron, as if its walls were made up of a fog-like texture.

Again, the feeling of movement started.

I wouldn’t suggest that I’d gotten used to the experience in any way, but this time I felt a little calmer.

The shaking and moving went on for much longer than in my last experience, and I decided it was best to just keep quiet and wait for whatever destination I was headed for.

As I sat there, I noticed a subtle humming sound, like a low frequency drone, probably less than one hundred cycles per second.

It felt as if it was coming from all directions, from the very fabric of the cube.

This, combined with the green glow made me feel surprisingly comfortable.

Maybe I was getting used to the experience, and even a little excited about what would come next.

After a while the humming sound dropped in frequency until it was below the listening spectre.

Simultaneously, the sense of movement ended.

And everything went still.

I kept looking at the walls, and noticed that they had turned semi-transparent.

Outside, I could see that it was dark, and that I was sat in an open, grassy field.

Above me a starry sky opened up, and at the edges of the field I could see trees, and also some buildings in the distance.

There was also glow of light from behind the buildings that gave me the impression that I was not totally out in the wilderness, but rather at the outskirts of a city.

Eventually the walls of the cube dissolved completely, and I now found myself sitting on the grass, which felt warm and comfortable.

It puzzled me to find myself in a hot summer’s evening, a far cry from the snowy November night I had just been in back home.

I rose to my feet, and looked around.

The sounds of insects provided a suitable soundtrack to the setting.

The cube was nowhere to be seen now, and no voices spoke neither inside or outside my head.

I felt strangely at ease, and wondered what to make of all this.

Then, as an impulse coming from somewhere hitherto unknown to me, I started moving on the grass.

At first, I just swayed in the warm breeze, but then I started swirling around.

I was dancing.

Still wearing my pyjamas, with no shoes on, the sensation of the grass under my feet got more and more intense, and eventually made me feel that I was being caressed by the earth, returning its love by dancing, like a child would.

An unimaginable joy rose inside me, and I started smiling and giggling uncontrollably.

I swirled and danced with a sense of freedom that I couldn’t recall having felt ever before.

I looked at my hands, and discovered that there were beams of light shining out of them in the most brilliant colours I’ve ever seen.

I gazed at the apparent magic unfolding before my eyes, and saw that as I made gestures with my hands, the light-beams would form little wheels of light in numerous colours.

I started throwing the light-wheels out into the air.

A complete and utter happiness filled me, and for the first time I could recall, I sensed a near endless love for everything inside and around me.

The colour-wheels flew across the meadow, over the trees and towards the buildings in the city in the distance.

I laughed aloud, and moved like floating in warm, liquid air.

Looking at my feet, I watched the grass pressing up around them as I moved, and I suddenly felt a limitless love for the ground beneath me.

I stopped dancing and knelt down, spreading my arms as I laid down on my belly.

I realised that the love I felt was for the planet below me.

A warm, breathing, living thing that provided me with everything I could ever wish for.

Unconditionally.

As I hugged the earth, I started crying.

I laid there, holding on to the Earth, hoping this would last for an eternity.

Then, without warning, I was lifted up and sucked back into the cube, that was now placed in the middle of the field. 

I could hear my own desperate cries, as coming from a child being separated from its mother, but in no time I found myself back inside the green cube. It started moving, and the humming sound returned.

The voice inside my returned, and said: “THAT is who you are!”

Whereby I was spat out back onto the chilly stone floor of my entryway.

Helpless as a newborn, I curled up and started sobbing uncontrollably on the cold floor.

6. A NEW EXIT

In the days following the new door incident, I tried my best to ignore the whole thing.

I’d become quite good at ignoring irrelevant matters over the years.

But this one turned out to be a tricky one.

One evening, after I had cleaned the kitchen and was about to go to bed, I went downstairs to turn off the lights in the entryway.

As I did, and everything went dark, I saw it again.

The door was back, and this time a bright light was seeping out around its contours, as if there was bright daylight at the other side.

I froze and stared at the door.

Not because I was scared, strangely enough, but because this didn’t fit in with the idea I had about my life.

The concept of me.

Up until that point, everything had had its own place, and there were very little unexpected happening.

Sure I might slip on the ice from time to time when out shopping groceries, but wearing spikes would easily take care of such unforeseen and unwanted events, and I never got seriously injuried or broke anything.

Bills were paid in time, family relationships were stable, if somewhat uneventful, and my health was pretty good for my age.

The door simply didn’t fit in, and the daylight behind it added to the feeling of disharmony.

As I stood there staring at it, the glow from around its edges slowly faded, and it was gone again.

Again, I chose to ignore it, and again, I probably added to the impact of the powers that were waiting for me just around the corner.

Behind the door, to be more exact.

I went to bed, hoping it would go away and not come back.

A few days passed with nothing strange happening, and then it struck again.

It was a Monday.

I hadn’t slept very well.

I usually try to get a good rest before the start of a new week, but as I had gone to bed the night before, I just couldn’t rest.

All kinds of thoughts kept racing through my mind.

People I hadn’t seen in decades and totally had forgotten existed, suddenly popped up in my memory.

Unimportant events from different parts of my life materialised before my inner eye.

Without any apparent reason.

When I eventually fell asleep, it was the middle of the night, and the last thing I remember thinking was that the next day would be rough.

It turned out to be an accurate prediction.

After my morning ritual, which was followed by an extra double espresso this particular morning, I went downstairs to put on my shoes, scarf and coat and leave for work.

As I was kneeling down to tie my laces, I got an eerie feeling of being watched from behind.

I turned around, still squatting on the floor, and stared at the wall where the mirror should be.

Again, I froze.

The door was wide open.

Behind it, a bright light beamed out and blinded me.

I instinctively put one hand in front of my face, and after adjusting to the light, I could see that something was standing in the doorway.

At first I couldn’t make out if it was a small person, or an animal.

It felt very much alive.

But there, in a new doorway in what used to be my familiar entryway wall, a red, shiny, triangular shape was now hovering.

Floating in the air.

Spinning slowly.

As it did, it revealed four perfectly shaped triangular sides.

I kept staring at it for what seemed like minutes.

Still kneeling, with one shoe on.

Then, to my surprise, the shape said: “Come!”

And before I could process the command, or think of a good answer, I got sucked up from the floor, lifted across the entryway, and swallowed by the formation in the doorway.

In what seemed like no time, I was inside a small, red room with triangular walls.

The bowels of the thing.

It was both claustrophobically small and endlessly vast at the same time.

I somehow couldn’t grasp where its walls began or ended, they had a kind of gradient quality to them.

Suddenly it felt as if I was moving vertically at high speed, but I couldn’t see anything that I could relate my own position to.

I kept my mouth shut, as I was still too puzzled to speak.

After a few seconds I managed to open it and ask: “Where are we going?”

“To the source”, the shape answered.

Strangely content with the answer, I kept quiet for the rest of the time that it felt like we were moving.

Then the feeling of movement abruptly stopped.

And then, without warning, the walls of the room dissolved.

That’s when I got scared.

I now found myself hanging in thin air, several hundred meters above the city.

I could see the cable-car’s upper terminal far below, and scattered clouds both around me and above me.

It was freezing cold, as if to remind me that I was physically present, and not just dreaming.

The voice of the shape appeared again, this time from inside my head.

“This is all you have.”, it said.

“A unique perspective.”

“You own nothing, not even your own personality.”

“All the ideas you have about who you are, are constructions.”

“You only have this.”

Gasping in the cold air, paralysed by vertigo, I found no response.

“Let’s have a closer look.”, the voice said, and I instantly fell towards the ground.

I tried to scream, but there was no sound.

I felt totally powerless.

Just as I thought I was about to hit a rooftop that came zooming towards me, I stopped in the middle of the air just a few meters above the house.

I recognised it.

It was my own.

But it was different somehow.

Firstly, the house seemed to be about double the size of what it actually should be.

Then, as if by magic, the roof dissolved and disappeared.

I could now see the layout of the different rooms, and everything seemed familiar. 

I looked closer, and saw that all the rooms were correctly laid out.

I had been involved in both drawing and building the house, so I knew it very well.

All the rooms were there.

All the furniture.

All the familiar mess.

Except that the outer wall facing East had been changed.

Instead of being the outer end of the house, this wall had now been replaced with a higher and much thicker inner wall.

On the other side of this new wall, the bulding continued for what seemed like the exact length of the original house.

And I realised that this other part was exactly identical, only it was mirrored.

I quickly scanned all the rooms to confirm that the details were correct, as if to confirm the existence of this new part of the house.

And that’s when I saw it.

In our bedroom, someone was lying on my bed.

It was me.

I quickly shifted my focus to the other side of the house.

In the mirroring bedroom, on the side of the bed that would be mine in an inverted world, someone was lying, too.

Just as I tried to focus on the person’s face, I was violently dragged back into the air.

It felt like I was sucked into a vacuum, and in a split second I found myself back inside the triangular shape with the red walls.

It hurled upwards through the air, and after a roller-coaster-like ride, it stopped, and spat me out through the new door in my entryway, which quickly faded and disappeared.

Very confused, I found myself back on the floor, kneeling, wearing only one shoe.

Knackered, I sat down on the floor.

I must have been sitting there for half an hour when I picked up my cellphone and called in to work to report that I wouldn’t be coming in today.

Afterwards, I undressed and went back to bed.

Something I had never done before.

5. THE PRESENT

I am working my way up the mountain hillside where the cable car runs on wires high above, like I’ve done so many times before.

As I gain altitude, the city draws itself out beneath me.

I love these mountains.

Always have.

I try to walk up here daily, now that I have all the time in the world again.

You see, the situation I’m in is a pretty new one.

Not like before the door opened.

After my oldest son was born, he’s 32 now, I went back to study.

To become a wireman.

At the local Polytechnic.

My interest in electronics had been with me since childhood.

I used to sit in my room and assemble little electronic kits, burning my fingers on my soldering iron.

The smell of molten lead is one of my fondest memories of the time.

Vapourised lead.

I eventually got myself a job as in repair and installation.

It’s been a career I’ve quite enjoyed, if not spectacular in any way.

We got married, bought a house near my parents’ house, then had two more kids over the years to follow.

My interest in music stayed with me as a passion, and my record collection eventually craved its own room in the house.

I loved that room.

It’s all in storage now.

As I reach the plateau at the top of the trail, I enter the small cafe at the cable-car docking station.

I buy myself a cup of green tea.

Trying to give up coffee.

There are quite a few tourists in the cafe.

They’re looking through postcards with pictures of the northern lights, our most valued natural resource.

I like that.

Magnetic shifts in the ionosphere.

That can’t be harvested, like fossil fuels.

Or maybe someday they can.

Magnetic storms could prove to be great sources of energy.

I’m sure Nicola Tesla had a plan.

I sit down by a table near the window.

I can see the whole city from here

Flickering lights.

It’s starting to get dark, even if it’s just 2PM.

November.

Sunless days.

But still brighter than five years ago.

When everything crashed.

For all I know, I should have seen it coming.

It’s not that anything had drastically changed, but little signs had emerged.

I had, for instance, taken up martial arts.

An old childhood dream.

A clear sign of mid-life crisis, I’m sure.

In parallel, at the other side of the spectrum, I had become a part-time smoker again, after more than two decades without a single cigarette.

I guess I found both these activities liberating, at some tiny scale.

But none of these changes could warn me about what came next.

It all started one seemingly normal moring.

I got up at 0645, went downstairs and made myself coffee, as any other morning.

After a quick glance through the usual websites and social media over a couple of slices of bread with cheese, I got dressed and left for work.

My wife works shifts, so she was still fast asleep, and all the kids had moved out, which had left me to enjoy the solitude surrounding my daily rituas.

Just as I was about to walk downstairs, I saw it.

The door.

At first I just stood there, staring at it.

We have lived in this house for almost two decades.

And there has never before been a door there.

This might sound unbelievable to you, and I’m not going to lie to you; 

I will lie to you.

Lies are part of my story.

Like they’re part of the stories of most people I know.

But what I’m telling you is true.

A door had appeared at the entryway wall, where before there had only been a small mirror, and a couple of family photos in black and white.

As the initial puzzlement passed, I came to my senses, and chose to ignore it.

I hurried past it, caught my coat, left the house, and went to work, like nothing unusual had happened.

Something I would later regret.

4. THE MIDDLE PILLAR (MY FIRST STORY)

My story is simple, really.

I was born in a small arctic town.

Back in the sixties.

My father was a captain at sea, while my mom was at home looking after me and my two brothers.

I had a fairly pleasant childhood, though I found it a bit empty and lonely at times.

So when I reached my teens, my main ambition was to get away.

And become someone else.

But I never left this place.

In fact, I still live only a stone’s throw from the red brick building where I was born.

Every time I tried to get away, some unexpected obstacle would appear, and prevent me from going anywhere.

Almost mysteriously, like at the hand of some invisible ghost.

The urge to dream up a new existence wasn’t because the one I had was unbearable in any way.

It was just that my adolescent life seemed to provide the perfect canvas to create something new upon.

So at 18, I decided that the best thing would be to leave and start again somewhere else. 

I attempted to move south, to the big city.

It seemed like a place of opportunities.

I got myself a job as a mailman, and spent most of the money I earned on buying records, and going out to see bands play live in dark clubs.

But I soon got caught in a loop, and after a few months I couldn’t get up in the morning, and just stopped turning up to work.

Needless to say, I was fired, and money soon ran out.

I decided it was the wrong city for me, and returned to my hometown.

Back home, I got myself a new job as a salesman at a local records store.

We were selling 12-inch dance singles to DJ’s, and progressive rock LP’s to middle-aged men.

And cassette tapes with mainstream eighties pop to teenagers.

It was a job I quite enjoyed.

After all, music was my main passion at the time.

But because I bought so many records for myself, I still didn’t earn much money.

One month, when I went to pick up my paycheque, an amused manager told me that I actually owned HIM money, due to the amount of records I’d picked out for myself.

So I left his office as broke as I entered.

Even if life was pretty good, due to the job, and the fact that I was in a lovely relationship with a new girlfriend, I still didn’t think the setup was right for me.

So I made new plans.

This time, I set my eyes on Berlin.

It seemed to be the European city where the most interesting music were made at the time, and an interesting place to live due to being this strange western island situated deep inside the Eastern Bloc.

This was before the wall fell.

So I quit my job and sold most of my stuff, and told my girlfriend that I needed some space, and that we would have to see where things headed.

She agreed.

But just when I was about to leave, she told me that she was pregnant.

So I stayed.

As any decent man would.

3. THE MIND MACHINE

I am five years old, and I’m asleep in a cabin on my father’s ship. 

In the middle of the night, I suddenly wake up. 

It is dark outside, and the ship is moving slowly through the black waters. 

I get out of bed and exit the cabin into an empty corridor. 

The ship seems to be abandoned. 

All I can hear is a low, humming noise coming from somewhere above my head. 

I find the stairs and climb towards the sound. 

The sound seems to enter my consciousness from within my mind, and not through my ears. 

At the top of the stairs, I find myself at the bridge of the ship. 

It seems to be empty, but I can feel a strong presence of someone else being in the room. 

The humming sound has now turned into a modulated, muffled sequence, like some incomprehensible language, and I realise that the sound and the presence I  have been sensing is coming from across the room. 

I look around, but there is no-one to be seen. 

But as I look towards the navigational instruments lined up in front of the bridge, it strikes me. 

The sound is the voice of the radar console, shining its flickering green light into the darkness, trying to tell me its secrets.